This week has been great. Lots of adventures. On Tuesday we discovered that we had been toilet-papered! Hahaha we weren't sure who it was but we figured it was probably the other elders or a certain one of the priests in the ward. Turns out it was said priest, and also his mom, and also some visiting sister RM's. And it was his mom's idea hahaha. His mom felt bad later and made us cookies as a peace offering... But we're not gonna just let this lie. :) We're thinking of saran-wrapping their car later this week.
We had a lesson with a lady we found at the family history booth at the fair last week! It was pretty good. She isn't terribly interested in the gospel at this point but she is definitely interested in finding more of her family history, so we helped her with that. We also saw several less actives this week. I love working with less actives. Helping them rediscover their faith is really exciting. :)
We had a lesson with an eternigator named Zavian. He's really cool but he's hard to work with because he rambles like you wouldn't believe. And we saw an investigator named Esther! She's awesome! She was a referral from a Mormon.org chat that didn't seem very interested at first, but now she's reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it and enjoying it, and she accepted a baptism date of August 6, and she even came to church out of nowhere this week!!
This area is great. I love Elder Lakko, I love the members and they feed us a lot, and the work is moving forward. :) I hope you all are doing well!
My message for this week is about obedience. Something President Griffin talked about at our last zone meeting was 4 reasons for us to be obedient: fear, reward, duty, and love. When we obey out of fear, we will eventually overcome or outgrow our fears, and with them goes our motivation to obey. When we obey to get a reward, as soon as we have our reward, there is no more incentive - we already have our trophy, so why try? When we obey out of duty, we eventually just burn out - there is no real reason for us to keep going. But when we obey out of love, we can keep going forever. As Mormon said:
"But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him." (Moroni 7:47)
The two greatest commandments are to "love the Lord thy God" and "love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matt 22:37-39). If we will do these two things, all other things will fall into place in our lives, and we will obey His commandments and serve Him because we mean it.
So how do we shift our motivations from fear, reward, or duty to love? I don't think there is one answer. It is unique and personal to each of us and requires a lot of prayer (see Moroni 7:48). One idea though is that we can start by trying our best to be obedient to God's commandments, following the Spirit and serving Him as best we can with whatever motivations we can muster - because when we serve other people selflessly, we cannot help but eventually grow to love them, and likewise when we serve God selflessly, we eventually grow to love Him. And I do know that God will bless us and build us up and shape us and help us, if we will at least put forth an effort and try.
I've gotta run. I love you all! Make yourselves a great week!
Elder Alex Swindler
1-3) We got roll'd.
4) One of the houses we tracted was SUPER nice. It even had lily pads in their pond! Actual lily pads!
5-6) An impressive sunset.
7) The peace offering.
Joyce's Baptism and The Most Amazing Backyard View, Ever
1) Joyce got baptized!! Elder Lambert baptized her and her husband Fred confirmed her. And on the right is Elder Lambert's greenie, apparently he came pre-trained. :)
2) Found this on someone's door when we were out tracting tonight.
3-4) Tracting in Appalachia.
5) The view from someone's backyard. No picture could ever do it justice... Don't worry, we weren't being creepy. We tracted into the guy who owns the house this evening and he is SUPER nice. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon, gave him a copy, and prayed with him. And he showed us the view from inside his house, the back of his house is mostly windows and the view from his living room is absolutely astounding. Hopefully we can meet with him again and sit in his living room. :D
6) The guy's house from the front. We promise we aren't stalkers.